May 112017
 

Street Sense is a semiregular column with Salem Main Streets’ executive director Kylie Sullivan, highlighting common sense lessons learned while supporting the delightfully uncommon community of downtown Salem, MA.

Photo Credit – Creative Salem

Last week, I had the honor of participating in Innonorth’s panel on marketing locally. As I began to consider the topic – specifically marketing LOCALLY – I realized I actually had a lot to say, because Main Streets and local marketing are both all about people and connections. So here are a few of my personal takes on what it means to market locally in a community like Salem.

* YOU ARE YOUR BRAND
Downtown Salem is made up of small businesses – many of them microbusinesses (<5 full-time equivalent staff). For a lot of us, this is one of the things we really love about Salem – we love shopping local, we love knowing the person behind the product, and we love that they know us. There’s nothing more special than going into a business and being welcomed by name by the owner. This means that your business is really about you, no matter how good your product is. The great thing about your personal brand is that it’s the cheapest and most effective form of marketing you can invest in! It also makes it easy to represent your business when you’re simply doing the things you already enjoy – joining a running club, attending community events, supporting another business’ opening. The downside is that there’s a lot more on the line. Brands are about trust. It can take years to build a strong brand, and seconds to ruin one – and when you add your personal brand to your business brand, the number of ways you can accidentally mess up are immediately amplified. So be aware of this in your daily life, at the grocery store, at the bar, on social media (that’s right, even your personal social media can impact your business – perhaps unfair, but true). It can be exhausting, but it’s incredibly important to keep this in mind.

*Be present.
The best way to make use of your personal brand is to be present in the daily life of the community. This could mean physically, online, or financially, but if you’re keeping to yourself in an engaged community like Salem, odds are that the locals are going to overlook you. Sponsor local festivals, come to networking events, maintain a social media presence, participate in downtown promotional efforts. Like any marketing plan, it takes a while to figure out what works best for you – both what’s easiest for you personally and what gets you the most traction – but you won’t know until you try.

*Be a positive advocate for the community.
The emphasis is on positive advocacy. Small-scale economic and community development only really work if most of us are pulling in the same direction, but community advocacy is also an important marketing tool.  Customers respond to local businesses that look beyond their own walls to support local causes, advocate for positive change within their industry, or collaborate with other local businesses.  Additional insider tip: being an active and positive advocate also makes it more likely that local entities (like Salem Main Streets, let’s say) will think of you first when they’re looking for a downtown business to promote or highlight.

*Don’t forget to talk about what you do!
A lot of local business owners work so hard to make sure that the community knows them as people that they forget to say what their business actually does – and are then hurt or surprised when a community member doesn’t choose their business the next time they need something. Now, I’m not saying that you should be spouting off your elevator speech at every social occasion, or shoving business cards at people who haven’t asked for one – this can actually be extremely off-putting. But keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities, and not being afraid to talk about what you do and what you’re proud of can go a long way when working in a small community.

*Be genuine and believe in your product.
Transparency is incredibly important to any consumer, but especially to those who choose to shop locally. And maybe it’s a result of living in a historic community with a strong tourist economy, but I feel that Salemites are particularly sensitive to insincerity. The good news is that this makes it even easier to be true to your personal brand – the less distance that exists between your professional self and your personal self, the less difficult it is to make sure that your brand remains consistent over time.

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May 092017
 

Express yourself artists of the North Shore! There is an open invitation from the 2017 Salem Arts Festival to local visual artists: “submit your work for the juried gallery at Old Town Hall” during the 9th annual festival that takes place this year, June 2-4.

Artists may submit up to 3 pieces; at least two of which must be for sale. Dates/times for drop off at Old Town Hall (32 Derby Sq.) will be May 26 from 5-8pm and May 27 from 9am-noon. Applicants will be informed of jury decisions by Sunday morning, and works not accepted must be picked up by Sunday evening or Monday afternoon.

Hung artwork may not exceed 36″ in any direction (including frame) and must be wired to hang – no sawtooth hangers. Larger artwork must have an easel or a stand. While installations are welcome, be mindful that Salem’s historic spaces come with some limitations.

You have time, but not a lot as the juried gallery will be selected by an on-site review process to be held the weekend before the festival, May 26-29.

This special exhibit is to be judged and juried for prizes by a panel comprised of individuals from the Salem arts community and beyond.

Over 5,000 people regularly attend the family-friendly Salem Arts Festival, transforming downtown Salem, MA into an opportunity for the arts community to showcase a wide range of talents: painting, photography, sculpture, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theatre, poetry, and more!

The Salem Arts Festival is organized by Salem Main Streets and a collaboration of Salem organizations which provide support for the festival, including the City of Salem, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Arts Association, and Creative Salem. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Salem Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

For full details of requirements and regulations, please see the admission form at http://salemartsfestival.com/juried-gallery/.

For any other Salem Arts Festival-related information, please see www.salemartsfestival.com or contact Kylie Sullivan at kylie@salemmainstreets.org or (978)744-0004 (x115).

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Jan 032017
 

Understandably, we’ve taken a little break. It’s been a busy last few months in Salem Ma. Halloween season was filled with creatures and creativity. That was followed by the Winter Holiday season, culminating with our double New Year’s Eve party extravaganza of LAUNCH and LAUNCH… Light It Up! And we could not have done any of these projects without a great showing of community support in the form of volunteers.

In February, it will be Salem’s So Sweet. In March, it will be the Salem Film Fest. In June, it will be the Salem Arts Festival. And so on. Whether these are Salem Main Street events or not, volunteers drive the projects from start to finish.

And that’s not just in Salem.

The annual “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” report, released by the Corporation for National & Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship, substantiates that service to others is a priority for millions of Americans.

In fact for 2013 the report found that 62.6 million adults volunteered through an organization. They put in almost 7.7 billion hours which translated to around $173 billion, based on an estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.

Time well spent.

And we just wanted to take this moment to thank you all again for giving of your time and experience to projects that benefit the Salem Ma community.

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Aug 282016
 

Over 20,000 visitors served during the Haunted Happenings weekends and holidays in October! That’s the final head count for last year’s Information Booth Volunteers. What will it be this year? Join us and be a part of this rewarding community effort.

Salem Main Streets is looking for volunteers with enthusiasm for Salem to help greet visitors at the October Information Booth. Volunteers will staff the booth at the start of the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall handing out maps and sharing information about Salem’s wide variety of attractions, events, and businesses.

All volunteers are asked to be available for a minimum of two shifts for two hours each and will be required to complete a one hour orientation session. The orientation will take place on Saturday, September 10 at 9:30am at the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St, Salem. SIGN UP FOR ORIENTATION NOW!

Info Booth 1This is a great experience for new volunteers who not only will be updated on new October events, but will also interact with returning volunteers who in turn will share insights and information with those new to the program.

Volunteers are needed for:

  • Two hour shifts throughout the day each weekend in October
  • October 6 (Parade night)
  • October 10 (Columbus Day)
  • October 31 (Halloween Night)

We are also looking for multi-lingual volunteers to assist the many international visitors who come to Salem.

If you have availability some of these days, enjoy helping visitors by showing them your enthusiasm for our cultured and historic city, and want to make it fun and easy for visitors to explore all of Salem’s sites and attractions, please join us!

For more information or to become a volunteer please contact Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets’ Executive Director, at (978)744-0004 x15 or kylie@salemmainstreets.org. This program is a partnership between Salem Main Streets, the National Park Service, the City of Salem, Destination Salem, and the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

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Aug 072016
 

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Short of going to a Museum of Ice Cream, the next best thing is going to the Salem Main Streets Ice Scream Bowl this Tuesday from 6-7:30pm where, for a small fee, you will sample a variety of ice cream from multiple local vendors. As in past years, the event will take place on the Salem Common.

This Heritage Days Festival favorite gives “kids of all ages” a chance to taste some classic flavors as well as some exciting new combinations from the area’s premier ice cream shops.

Window Contest 041A few of the businesses serving samples at the event include Captain Dusty’s, Cherry Farm Creamery, Maria’s Sweet Somethings, and Melt Ice Cream.

Kylie Sullivan, SMS Executive Director says, “North Shore 104.9 will also be in attendance with fun games and takeaways. New this year, we will be featuring a ‘community fair’ of sorts, where a number of kid-focused community groups and organizations (such as Salem Youth Soccer, Girl Scouts, Mass in Motion, and the SPUR Backpack Drive) will be present.”

The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Tickets for the Ice Scream Bowl are purchased on site at the event. A spoon and napkins will be supplied with the purchase of a ticket.

Proceeds go to Salem Main Streets; we are a nonprofit organization with the goal of revitalizing downtown Salem as a vibrant year-round retail, dining, and cultural destination. Salem Main Streets organizes the Salem Farmers’ Market, Salem Arts Festival, and many other events in downtown Salem.

The Ice Scream Bowl is coordinated in partnership between Salem Main Streets and the City of Salem as part of Salem Heritage Days, a 10 day event to celebrate the people of Salem.

For any other questions or comments regarding this event, please contact Kylie Sullivan at Salem Main Streets, (978) 744-0004 x15 or email at kylie@salemmainstreets.org.

Kylie adds, “Salem’s Ice Scream Bowl is a fun event for both children and adults to cool down from the heat and enjoy tasty ice cream. Current weather forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 82 degrees. Ice cream sure sounds like a good idea!”

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